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and, now, they've uncovered another liberal agenda. math home work. >> even worse is the way some textbooks are pushing some liberal agenda. check out the wording of this. distribute the wealth of a lovely rich girl with a big ole bag of money. it starts in third grade. and through their whole educational experience, they continually get indoctrine nated. >> it's not just the numbers that are cooked, it's the history books, too. >> they were very liberally booised saying when george bush went in there, there were weapons of mass destruction. >> huh? huh? maybe our friends over at fox need to go back to school. that's exactly what happened in iraq.
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it's not a liberal conspiracy. it's history. these guys can name sponge bob and math homework all in one. thanks for watching, i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. >> we're going into nut country. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this, paranoid america is climbing out of its bunker. the near possibility that the obama administration might stop the easy sale of the scariest guns to the scariest people has aroused the slippery slope crowd. these cousins of the grassy knoll folks believe that any limit on the wide open market for guns and ammo threatens their own hardware.
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any reasonable action by the american people to stop the carnage is to these paranoids the first unfaltering step to mass confiscation of everything from shotguns to daisy rifles. well, tonight we let you hear from the craziest of the crazies. my question, are the regular gun owners of this country, the people who go out and hunt in hunting season, the people who shoot skeet or simply like to pack their own bullets, regular gun enthusiasts, are they going to listen to these nut cases or joe biden when he offers proposals next week on background checks and high capacity magazines? who are the people that are going to decide this issue -- i mean the gun owners -- going to go with, the wild bunch or the town posse? david corn is washington bureau chief for "mother jones." joy reid is managing editor of the grio. both are msnbc analysts. joy, your bet. do the pennsylvania-type guys who go out when they're supposed to shoot, practice shooting and get good at it with a couple shots, that's all you get with a
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deer, are they going to go with the nuts? >> you know what, chris? i mean, i grew up in colorado. i grew up around people who were military, ex-military, people who hunted. you know, colorado is a big hunting state. and i don't think anyone that i have ever met that is a responsible gun owner can side with these, you know, for lack of a better word, these loony tunes who are out here because they're doing something different. they're stockpiling. they're getting assault rifles. these are not normal gun owners. what you're hearing from now is the absolute fringe, and, unfortunately, they're being allowed to speak for the pro-second amendment crowd. >> david, we're going to show the worst of the worst in a minute, but first your thoughts. will the regular gun owners, the people that are in the nra in pennsylvania and they vote, democrat or republican, are they going to go with the crazies like james yeager? we're going to show him and alex jones again. >> you know what's crucial to this is what clinton did back in '94. remember, he got an assault weapons ban through congress over the nra opposition and
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opposition to many republicans and some democrats, and the way he got it was by bringing the cops, the police -- >> but how many seats did he lose? >> he lost a lot of seats. you have to keep the fight going after you win. so the way to get people to side with responsible gun control, gun violence prevention, is to make this a wide coalition to show them that, hey, you're with people who like to shoot, you're with people who care like cops. it's not just liberal dems -- >> i agree. >> that's the key here as we go forward. >> the raw story website got ahold of this threatening video from this fellow i mentioned, james yeager. he's ceo of a group called tactical response, and he's pledging actual violence as a result of the white house action on gun safety. take a listen. >> i'm telling you that if that happens, it's going to spark a civil war, and i'll be glad to fire the first shot. i'm not putting up with it. you shouldn't put up with it, and i need all you patriots to start thinking about what you're going to do. load your damn mags, make sure your rifle is clean, pack a backpack with some food in it,
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and get ready to fight. i'm not [ bleep ] putting up with this. i am not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. i'm not letting anybody take my guns. if it goes one inch further, i'm going to start killing people. >> you got that. and the paranoid on the fringe right, it all comes down to being anti-tyranny. here was alex jones talking to piers morgan earlier this week. >> so we did it to point out that this is globalism, and the mega banks that control the planet and brag they've taken over in bloomberg, ap, reuters, you name it, brag they're going to get our guns as well. they're taken everybody's guns but the swiss and the american people. when they get our guns, they can have world tyranny while the government buys armored vehicles, tanks, predator drones armed in u.s. skies being used to arrest people in north dakota. the second amendment isn't there for duck hunting. it's there to protect us from tyrannical government and street thugs.
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>> so what do you make of that, joy? >> this is crazy, chris. i watched that video last night, the yeager video, and i watched the alex jones interview this past week. these are not normal pro-second amendment people. this is insanity. these are people who are essentially arming themselves and stockpiling arms. saying they have more than 50 arms in their house against some sort of tyrannical government invasion of their personal homes. this is basically the paranoia in american society being brought forward and made to speak for ordinary gun owners. it's up to gun owners themselves to distance themselves from that craziness. >> well, let's keep listening to this. here is one from the -- i want to get all these in here tonight. ted nugent to world net daily. here is what he said, there will come a time when the gun owners of america, the law-abiding gun owners of america will be the rosa parks, and we will sit down in the front of the bus, case closed. and this morning on cnn the chairman or chair of the gun appreciation day suggested
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slavery wouldn't have occurred if guns had been available to everyone in america at the time. let's listen to this malarkey. >> i think martin luther king would agree with me if he were alive today that if african-americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country's founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history. >> what a dumb, dumb nut. joy, you got to start on this. this is not only a nut, but a dumb nut. slaves didn't come to america as citizens. they came in shackles -- >> as property. >> in the bottom of a ship. they're lucky to be alive if they got here. the idea they would be armed by anyone -- you take it on. he's obviously patronizing, trying to act like he cares about the fate of black people. who would believe this malarkey? >> and, chris, why is it every time the far right decides to make an argument that is insane, they jump on the civil rights movement or slavery and try to latch their argument onto the history -- >> yes.
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>> as if they give a damn. as if they would have been up at the front for the fight. >> exactly. >> you don't remember ted nugent standing in front of everyone in the civil rights marches. >> i remember him refusing to go to vietnam. i remember him getting out of going to vietnam and being afraid to carry a gun when his country asked him to carry a gun. he was a coward. these guys always jump on slavery and the civil rights movement. this is offensive. if slaves hadn't been owned by other people, there wouldn't have been slavery either. >> this is -- what's happening now is something we've been talking about for five years. that is the extreme right, let's call it what it is, has gone on about barack obama as a socialist, as -- conspiracy theories about secret plans to take guns and dominate the country, and now because biden comes out and talks about high-capacity magazines, they say finally, we finally have something -- >> nailed them. >> to nail on and they're just -- >> i don't want to make fun of these people because they're about 1% of the country, 5% or 10%. >> they're dangerous because they're armed.
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>> right. >> that is a problem. remember where i got that phrase from, we're going into nut country? that's what jack kennedy said the day he died. rush limbaugh said the president can't be stopped from getting what he wants. you don't think this is going to the mainstream of the right? here is rush. let's listen. >> obama will try anything and has, and nobody stops him, by the way. he has trumped the constitution's first amendment and religious liberty. he has trumped the constitution on immigration. he has essentially granted amnesty to a million kids without benefit of legislation. he'll do anything that nobody tries to stop him from doing. of course, an executive order legally doesn't trump the constitution. but if he issues an executive order to try to confiscate guns or something along those lines and nobody stops him, does he
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not get away with it? >> here is the point, rush has a brain. he's a smart guy. he's a marketer, he knows what he's doing. in many ways he's a showman, but how can he honestly believe a president can issue an executive order confiscating guns? >> to be extreme in reaction to this extremism, i can hear less smart people -- i can imagine them listening to this and thinking there is only one way to stop this guy. you know, it's like -- it's calling for john wilkes booth. he's -- >> be careful. >> he's going to take over, and this is feeding the worst paranoia, and there are mentally deranged people out there who will listen to this stuff and they're going to say, hey, i know how to stop this. >> it does have the incendiary quality of some of that stuff. "hotel rwanda" when you have people actually out there instigating almost armed warfare. >> obama -- >> this has a piece of it. >> i think on a less volatile scale, i think the other thing it does, i remember talking to republican voters during this last presidential campaign, and they had an actual genuine fear
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that there was going to be gun confiscation because they listened to somebody like rush, and they think they're listening to the news. they think this is real. and so you have a lot of republican politicians who might otherwise be swayed by the same people. they're worried constantly about their right flank, about someone running against them and saying they were soft on gun confiscation, so that's why i am so dubious, unfortunately, and cynical as to whether you can get actual legislation because the politicians think the fringe rules their base, and they're worried about their jobs. >> you have just done something very frightening, joy. you have just tied together paranoia with gullibility. in other words, they believe rush, and they're afraid of everything else. >> these aren't crazy people. these are people who sounded perfectly normal and rational, but they think rush is the news. >> and they're being exploited by rush and the nra who are playing on their fears. >> and selling guns. as the white house reviews potential gun control policies, lawmakers in wyoming are already at the ready to not follow new
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policies and arrest any government official who tries to enforce them. we're talking nullification here. i think jeff davis would be proud. anyway, this one seems like it's yanked right from the days when people debated nullification back in the 1880s. the bill reads in part, any official, agent, or employee of the united states government who enforces or attempts to enforce any act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the united states government upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition shall be guilty of a felony. the bill calls for punishment of up to five years in prison for it or a hefty fine for anyone who enforces federal gun laws, laws that don't even exist. you're talking nullification, all the elements of the bad old days before the civil war. the idea that somebody in a state can absolutely just arrest government -- this is fort sumner. we're not making this up. we're not fishing for it. these people are out there shouting from the rooftops about this nonsense. >> they're out there, and what's sad is the nra used to actually support gun control, and the
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irony is, and we covered this on the grio today, back in the '60s when the black panthers were saying there's a right to bear arms because they wanted to do armed patrols, it was people like governor ronald reagan who pushed for gun control, who signed the mumford act which made it illegal to carry guns in public, in a car. the nra was all for that because at that time it was couched in the idea of stopping what they thought was a frightening black panther movement or black civil rights movement. they completely changed their minds about this issue. >> and another way and certainly in a more beneficial way back when we identified machine guns or automatic weapons with machine gun kelly and baby face nelson and those guys in chicago, the country was quick to outlaw automatic weapons. >> indeed. >> a couple years ago barack obama got into trouble when he said some americans cling to their guns. what we're seeing now is that he was right. maybe he didn't say it the right way, but we are. whether it's 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, they cling to their guns.
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they buy the fearmongering and the nra, rush limbaugh, and, more importantly, the gun manufacturers are all preying on these people and trying to get them all whipped up -- >> the safest bet in american life, the safest bet in american life, more safe than, i have to tell you, than savings bonds or tea bonds, the safest bet is that we will have as many guns or more 20 or 30 years from now as we have now. that is the safest, surest bet in american life, and it's sad. anybody who bets against that is wasting our time and should go see a doctor. >> this a moment where there's a chance, there is a greater chance now than there has been in the last ten years -- >> the magazine capacities will be limited. >> maybe. but, chris, even increasing the social opprobrium against mass gun ownership, it drives the people further to the fringe, drives them underground, drives the sales online and off the books. i think i am actually genuinely frightened by the rage and almost paranoic sort of incitement you're seeing on the right. it's been done by people like
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rush who know better. >> i think we might have trouble, bad trouble someday in the near future by this. we can tell you that the nbc station in nashville is reporting that the state of tennessee has suspended the handgun carry permit of james yeager. that was the first guy we quoted tonight. a real nut. david corn, joy reid, thank you for joining us. coming up, reality check. gun control advocates say this is the moment to pass new legislation. the pro-gun crowd says there no way they will accept an assault weapons ban. exit strategy. president obama made it clear the united states is accelerating its withdrawal from afghanistan and plans to leave very few troops there after next year. this much is clear. and u.s. congressman phil gingrey, who apparently felt two so-called rape candidates in the republican party, richard mourdock and todd akin, wasn't enough. he's come out defending akin's legitimate rape comments. once again republicans just keep it up. and finally, the city that's the star of oscar nominated
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films this year isn't new york or l.a. or rome or paris, it's d.c., right here in washington. "lincoln," "argo," "zero dark thirty," the nation's capital ready for its close-up. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. you can prevent gas with beano meltaways, or treat gas with these after you get it. now that's like sunblock before or sun burn cream later. oh, somebody out there's saying, now i get it! take beano before and there'll be no gas.
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mark your calendars. we have a date now for president obama's state of the union address. house speaker john boehner invited the president to address a joint session of congress on tuesday, february 12th, a date the white house has accepted. in his invitation boehner says the country has immense challenges and will require a willingness to seek common ground. that's a message boehner might want to pass on to his own party as well i'd say. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." as vice president biden wraps up his week of meetings with stakeholders in the gun debate, outlines of biden's task force proposals are beginning to take shape. universal background checks for gun purchasers, limits on ammunition, stronger mental
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health checks for gun buyers, and even a report in today's "washington post" that senator barbara boxer presented a plan to the vice president to make federal funds available for schools that do want to hire police officers. next it will be president obama's turn to act on the recommendations of biden's task force. is the time now for big change, including a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban? joining me is paul helmke, former president of the brady campaign to prevent gun violence, and eugene robinson, of course, pulitzer prize winning columnist for "the washington post" and an msnbc contributor. paul, you devote your time and life to this story. which way do you see it going in terms of how far the vice president's task force will go next tuesday and then how far the president will go and then how far the congress will go in terms of gun control and gun safety? >> i doubt if they're going to go as far as i'd like. i personally think they should present a comprehensive plan, deal with background checks, deal with military-style weapons, deal with trafficking, deal with the special protections the gun industry gets.
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the old trigger locks. put them all into a comprehensive bill. it's going to be tough to get through. the problem with doing it single bill by single bill, people say this wouldn't have stopped this shooting or that shooting. do a comprehensive bill. if you have to negotiate to keep the high capacity ammunition magazines and give up some of the military-style weapons, then you have trade-offs you can make, but put everything on the table. i think biden needs to -- vice president biden needs to do that. i think the president needs to do the same thing. the nra and their folks are going to fight everything tooth and nail. let's put the whole program out there if we can. >> do you think we could get something out of a more liberal judiciary committee? i just don't know which republican dominated committee in the house is going to do this. i mean, i hate to be particular -- let me go to gene robinson. >> i'm not sure which committee is going to pass this out of the house either. i mean, that's a problem. you know, you can look at it from the other side. i understand the point about a comprehensive bill, but you
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might actually be able to get bills with this piece or that piece out of committee and maybe that would be easier than -- >> who is going to ramrod it for you, paul? the pro-gun safety or gun control people, who is going to ramrod it in the house or -- you got to get particular here with me. i want to know who is going to stand up, john dingell won't be there, a lot of guys in the congress are not anti-gun in any way. bobby casey is not going to be there. i don't think joe manchin is going to be there despite his conversations. is schumer going to do it? if it's a big city guy, you can kill the idea right up front. who is the country boy or country woman who will do this thing? >> you're right. i think the crucial thing, particularly in the senate, is we need some republicans or some -- none of -- the traditional characters, schumer and feinstein, boxer, you know, those folks will be there. we need mark kirk in illinois to make this an issue. he voted for closing the gun show loophole when he was in the house.
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we need dan coats back in the senate from indiana. he voted for some of these things in the early' 90s. if we can get a few republicans to stand up and say, this isn't taking your guns away, this isn't a second amendment issue, this is a public safety issue, a law and order issue, it will help our communities, then i think we can get it done. >> will you get any votes in the south? >> illinois and indiana pushing >> any votes in the rocky mountain states, any votes in conservative country, utah, idaho? >> yeah. we can get some in the rocky mountain states. i think we can get some of the folks in colorado, some of the folks -- we can get bennet, udall perhaps. those are folks that in the past have been supportive. you know, the one i would really like to see is mark begich out of alaska. as mayor of alaska he is one of the signatories of mayors against illegal guns. i think those are people that, because of what they've done in the past, they might be responsive now. >> i like the way you talk. earlier on the "today" show, nra president david keene predicted congress would not back the gun group and pass an assault
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weapons ban. let's listen to him. >> we have a profound disagreement with this administration, first of all, on what would make a difference. we don't think that a ban on so-called assault weapons, which hasn't worked in the past, is going to work this time. >> do you have the support in congress to block any federal ban on assault weapons in the coming year? >> i do not think that there's going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by the congress. >> gene, can we go that far? we did it back in the '90s? >> that's obviously the highest hurdle. that's the toughest thing to get through, and my concern from the point of view of someone who would like to see legislation passed is that if that is the centerpiece of a big piece of legislation, it becomes easier to kill basically. >> yeah. >> and perhaps if you've got background checks and big magazines, which, you know, is a red flag for some people but not for -- perhaps not for
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everybody, and also you could vote on the assault weapons ban. that goes down maybe some of the other -- >> how do you do this, paul? people who want to see some reasonable gun control right now, they are looking at the magazines, these 30-round things. they are looking at the fact that people who are dangerous, they may have a criminal record, they may be a mental, emotional problems, is there a background check system, let's start with something i think most people would agree with, keep guns away from scary people, criminals and people with mental and emotional problems that are severe. how do you get those lists? is there such a list -- maybe there's a criminal list. police officers have access to those when they stop you. but what about the mental and emotional problems of people that lead to these spree shootings in most cases? >> there's three basic things we need to do to strengthen the background check system. one is to look at the definitions. we need stronger definitions of drug abusers. we need a better definition of who is mentally dangerous, and i don't think that should be that
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hard to do. a lot of folks have worked on that issue before. >> would the aclu permit that? would the liberal groups, the civil liberties people, let you get a list out there? >> i think they would if you draw it the right way. right now with regard to the mentally dangerous, it's based on a court finding that someone is a danger to themselves or others. i think perhaps there's some other things they could add to that if there are some protections built in. get the good lists. number two, make sure the states are getting the records into the federal system. that was the problem at virginia tech. the virginia tech shooter had been found to be a danger to himself or others. virginia had not sent the record in. we got a bill passed after virginia tech that george w. bush signed. we need to strengthen that bill to make sure we're getting more records into the system. and the third is the crucial thing, do a background check on every sale. if we have agreed that felons shouldn't get guns, that dangerously mentally ill shouldn't get guns, if we have those records, they're in the system, if we don't do a background check on 40% of the sales, you're leaving the system wide open. i think everyone can agree with that. that's been the cornerstone --
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>> sounds good. you know your stuff. >> that's going to work. >> one thing, point out one thing, very wise man, vernon jordan, told me if you don't ask for nothing, you don't get nothing. i think this is not the point where we start pulling back and saying, well, we can't get this, we can't get that. this is still the point where i think people who want to see sensible gun laws should be making the case for sensible -- >> this is where the republican leadership has got to get aboard. thank you, paul helmke. call me up if you learn something. eugene robinson -- >> happy to be on. up next, republicans can't get out of their own way. georgia congressman phil gingrey -- the guy who had to apologize to rush limbaugh, remember that? -- is defending todd akin's legitimate rape comments. wait until you see this one coming up. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ female announcer ] going to sleep may be easy, but when you wake up
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." is another republican really wading into todd akin legitimate rape territory? believe it. enter phil gingrey of georgia. at an event yesterday he provided some delayed backup for todd akin. >> what he meant by legitimate rape was just, look, someone can say, i was raped, a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, you know, that's pretty tough and might on some occasion say, hey, i was raped. that's what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus nonlegitimate rape. i don't find anything so horrible about that. but then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down
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so the pregnancy would not occur. he's partly right on that. i'm an ob-gyn doctor. i have been an ob-gyn doctor for a long time, since 1975, and i have delivered lots of babies, and i know about these things. >> well, remember when alec baldwin said you know your party is in trouble when people ask did the rape guy win and you have to ask, which one? we're going to add gingrey to the list of possibilities. finally, the late night comedians weigh in on jack lew getting nominated for secretary of the treasury. well, mostly his signature. >> there are big problems with this guy. >> many republicans really just don't get along with this guy. they don't agree with his philosophy. they think he's really hard to deal with in negotiations. >> no, no, no, jimmy, none of that, no, jimmy, no. no, we're talking about the big problem. >> there is jack lew's signature. we could have a pretty ugly signature on our dollar bill. >> our money should have nothing
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ridiculous on it, just old men in wigs and pyramids with eyes. i mean, is this even a signature or did he start drawing charlie brown and give up after the hair? >> hey, lew, here is a tip, stop signing all your checks on the tea cup ride at disney world. the only way that you're allowed to have that as your signature is if your name is boing. up next, president obama meets with afghan president hamid karzai at the white house, and one thing is clear, we're getting out of afghanistan, and we're getting out sooner rather than later. and you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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welcome back to "hardball." the war in afghanistan, which we've been fighting now for over 11 years, has taken a huge toll. more than 2,000 americans have been killed, thousands more seriously wounded, severely wounded. it's cost us more than $500 billion so far. well, today after meeting with afghan president hamid karzai in the white house, president obama made it clear the war is ending,
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the american war. and it's ending sooner than was previously planned. let's listen. >> let me say it as plainly as i can, starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission, training, advising, assisting afghan forces. make no mistake, our path is clear, and we are moving forward. every day more afghans are stepping up and taking responsibility for their own security, and as they do, our troops will come home. and next year this long war will come to a responsible end. >> no doubt it's still a messy path and that end, if afghanistan is ready to take over its own security. that's the question. what role will the taliban play in the future of that country? and what role will the united states play after we end our combat mission? how many troops will we keep behind in afghanistan to keep that country secure if we can? jim moran is a democrat congressman from virginia, and wes moore is a retired army captain and author of "the other
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wes moore." i guess the question comes down to numbers. 66,000 troops in country right now. what should it be five years from now? >> i think we're going to initially withdraw to 6,000 troops in 2014. i think a lot of work will be done by contractors, not u.s. troops, but we can't afford to continue spending the kind of money we're spending. you know, we have spent $557 billion up to today, half a trillion dollars, and what have we gotten for it? burma, somalia, and afghanistan are the three most corrupt nations in the world, and now almost 90% of that corruption is coming from american taxpayers' money. you'd be shocked at the amount of american taxpayers' money that's being spent over in dubai because it came in to afghanistan. this is a nation that's -- a government that's corrupt to its core -- >> let's talk about what we can get done in the year and a half we're leaving. wes, the question i always ask, it's why i'm generally against intervention, because you have to eventually leave, and the
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question is when you leave, how is it any different than when you came? i think of all the powers that could influence another country in history, the english were able to turn wonderfully the indian people into real democrats. they believe in democracy. there's so few other examples where a country like ours can influence another country's culture positively. usually you're just hated and kicked out eventually. >> i would answer that question and come back to the question. i would disagree this is about numbers. this is not about numbers. this is about strategy. and what exactly are our goals and what exactly is our intent for not just the short term but for the long term in afghanistan? you look at the situation in afghanistan. afghanistan is not necessarily a military or kinetic issue we're dealing with right now. the question of afghanistan is not security. the question of afghanistan is uncertainty. the fact is we have hit every single number we need to hit as of right now in terms of afghan forces we are training, in terms of afghans on the ground securing their own prosperity. the biggest questions they have is what does afghanistan look like in a post-karzai time? what does afghanistan look like when they convert from a
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construction economy, from a consultant economy to a larger -- >> my question to you, wes, you're a fighting man, and congressman moran after that, will the karzai army we build over there, will they when we pull out, will they fight? will they fight the taliban force who are cutting people's heads off, ruthless, ferocious. will they stand and fight in remote areas against these people? >> that becomes the biggest challenge because we don't know. there will probably be around 25 people who will run for the presidency of afghanistan -- >> but will they fight? >> they will fight. the question is who will they fight for. >> i'm only worried about the taliban coming back in and bringing al qaeda back in. >> and also whether or not us having 10,000, 5,000, or 3,000 troops is going to make any difference -- >> that's my question to the congressman. 6,000 troops. what can we do? can we prevent the remote areas of afghanistan being taken over by the taliban, beheading women, outlawing movies?
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>> 354,000 afghan national army people roughly, but the problem are the taliban, the taliban are pashtun. do you know what percent of that afghan national army are pashtun? 2%. >> that's right. >> this army, they're basically seen as northern invaders from other tribes. they've not been treated as a servant class. they make up the army. they're not going to be allowed in the helmand provinces. >> we're going to have a divided country like lebanon. >> you're absolutely right. >> the american people will be watching it on television and reading in the newspaper about beheadings and awful treatment of women in those areas controlled by the pashtuns, right? >> yes, they will, but the bigger question is what contingency of u.s. troops can stop that? >> if we're not staying in there big time, 100,000 troops basically, we might as well get out because we can't control the
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future of the country. >> and convert it to the operation that the president talked about where we're going security and training -- >> it raises the old question when you go in 11, 12 years ago you knew you had to leave. are we leaving the country any different than we came in? >> a little better in the cities. certainly kabul is a little better. some of the women have been empowered. but, you know, one of the principal reasons we're going to have to leave, chris, is the same as in iraq. we want immunity for our soldiers in the allied forces. the iraqi parliament wouldn't accept that. and when karzai runs again, he's going to have to agree with the parliament -- >> explain that issue. >> it means that any crimes that american soldiers or americans in afghanistan or allied forces commit, they can't be prosecuted. they're immune from prosecution. >> why is it important for us to fight for that principle? it's logical. you don't want some court over there to decide whether an american guy is guilty for reckless driving or something like that.
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>> that's right, and they're going to make american scapegoats quite likely. when you have collateral damage with drone attacks, they will grab american soldiers, prosecute them, make show trials. we can't allow that, but i don't think karzai can any longer defend that -- >> a wrinkle that causes us to leave. >> tantamount to that, there's no country in the world we do not have that policy with, and afghanistan will not be the first. >> okay. thank you, gentlemen. you know the military. you know it, too. thank you very much. wes moore and congressman jim moran of virginia. up next, the big star of the oscars this year, believe it or not, the city i'm in right now. washington. so many stories about washington that were oscar nominated films. anyway, finally, this city is ready for its close-up. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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including the fact that a preferred risk policy starts as low as $129 a year. for an agent, call the number that appears on your screen. long-time senator jay rockefeller of west virginia says he's going to retire when his term ends next year, and that gives republicans a good chance, a great chance, to pick up a senate seat. rockefeller is one of the most senior senate democrats serving since 1984. in that time his state has shifted from deep blue to deep red. consider this, west virginia was reliably democratic in presidential elections voting for carter over reagan in 1980 and mike dukakis in '88. but since 2000 it's been solidly republican. and president obama lost the state by 26 points. we'll be right back. @ñ
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welcome back to "hardball." on the front page of today's "washington post," film critic ann hornaday pointed out the oscar nominations have showcased an unlikely hero, bureaucratic washington. three films with multiple nominations. first there's "lincoln" in which we see president lincoln getting down into the dirt to use all the power to push through the 13th amendment outlawing slavery. here is his secretary of state discouraging him from taking on congress. let's listen. >> we'll win the war, sir. it's inevitable, isn't it? >> well, it ain't won yet. you'll begin your second term. imagine the possibilities peace
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will bring. why tarnish your invaluable luster with a battle in the house? it's a rat's nest in there. the same gang of talentless hicks and hacks who rejected the amendment ten months ago. we'll lose. >> i like our chances now. >> wow. in "argo" ben affleck plays a cia operative who came up with and executed the plan to rescue six american hostages over in iran. this clip shows the meeting where mendez and his colleagues pitched ideas that saved him. >> wait until the weather clears up, then deliver the six, provide them with maps to the turkish border. >> we have intelligence they can ride bicycles or we're prepared to send in somebody to teach them. >> or you could just send in training wheels and meet them at the border with gatorade. >> in the movie "zero dark thirty," we see the hours of research, meetings, and computer work that the cia officer played by jessica chastain put in to track down osama bin laden.
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joining me right now, ann hornaday herself and "new york magazine's" film critic david edelstein. one of you i always agree with, two i sometimes agree with. thank you for joining us. you know who you are. kevin spacey, a middle level guy or person is celebrated as a central figure. and i thought somebody's finally figured out washington. it is the coos. it is the staff directors. it is the campaign guys who really run this place. >> it's true. it's like here is to the talentless hacks that are finally getting their day in the sun. it's funny. it reminds me a little. we did have precursors to this when you think about it. it is hitting some critical mass. it harks back to the documentary from several years ago "the war room" that introduced us to
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future stars james carville to the world. >> let's forget something else inspired by "the war room" was "the west wing". >> of course. and soderbergh's "k street" which i think softened the ground for these. but it is a fascinating -- >> david, let's broaden it beyond the territory of this town. to david. is this something like the celebration of the squares, the people that are not adrenaline by cameras, they do they jobs. you don't know who they are, but they do their jobs. i was thinking about the movie about the astronauts and what it takes. what is that movie called? >> "the right stuff ." >> "the right stuff." there is a movie that celebrated squares, if you will. the people that showed to work and work regular hours and get the job done. >> i'm not sure about that, chris. but i do want to say first, and i'm sure ann will agree with me, that film critics were allowed to carry guns we won't have all
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these "twilight" pieces of crap. >> alex jones speaks again. >> yes. now to your point about this. i think there is an element of showbiz in politics, because let's face it. it's not just private interactions. it's private interactions and how they're going to play with the public at large. and i think we've picked up gradually on this showbiz aspect. and i think we've become more aware of this sort of political minutia and these negotiations. i think many of us have become obsessed with blogs. there has been stewart and colbert there is you and rachel. i'm sure you don't like compliments, but we have to credit you with showing us that inside baseball can be fun, and not only fun, but meaningful. and finally, hollywood, which is also obsessed with this stuff, has gotten the message and has
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made it sexy. >> well, i've changed my mind. i agree with you on that one completely. i'm completely with you, david. let me go back to ann hornaday who knows this city very well. you live here. you write for "the post." "lincoln." this movie is not about winning the big battles, or the battles of vicksburg that made the difference in the war. it's about sitting and buying members of congress. it's about trading jobs, intimidating people. it's so down and dirty, i kept thinking where did spielberg think this was a movie. >> well, yes. and i was expecting, especially spielberg, who is such a great myth maker, i thought i was going to go in to see the monument. and i came out having seen the advise and consent of the 19th century. >> exactly. that is exactly true. >> you know, which was wonderful and very gratifying.
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i think a lot of the credit for that choice goes to tony curb kushner, who grappled with the material for a very long time, wrestled with it, wrote several drafts, very long drafts until he found that nugget of that period of time of that fight. and i agree with david. i think this is just this cultural, you know, information is sexy. process is sexy. >> politics, i keep telling people, if you don't like politicians, think about the alternative. if you don't have people to have a little bit of pizazz, a little bit of moon shine, a little bit of, you know, cleverness in connecting with people. >> moxie. >> you don't have a democracy, david. you can't just have dictatorial power in the hand of the all mighty. >> exactly. this is how things work in a democracy. but also, remember that we've become obsessed with winners, okay. "american idol" and oscars and you know, by taking politics and turning it into, you know, a series of machiavellian maneuvers that is either going to win you something or lose you something big, then they're able to engage with americans that, you know, in their competitive spirit. there is another movie that i think was very influential called in the loop which was
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british. >> loved it. >> and the travesty of the u.n. resolution endorsing force against iraq. that was very influential, very funny, very raunchy, very sexy. and i think all of these things -- and maybe one other thing too. reality show, even like "survivor" and things like and the reality-based shows. >> okay. >> have a shown us politics in everyday life, back stabbing, bribing, cajoling. >> okay. i love it. by the way, james gandolfini playing colin powell. that was a great impersonation. >> isn't that beautiful? >> thank you very much, ann hornaday, thank you, david edelstein. >> thanks. >> we'll be right back.
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